Sunday, October 10, 2010

Changing Times

I hate dressing up like a pox doctor's clerk for funerals, but I do make an effort. I have never owned a suit, but I have 'good pants'. I take my pair of jeans along to change into later, along with my normal shoes. However, I have noticed some very downmarket dressing at funerals I have been to recently. What? You aren't on the funeral merry go round yet? Just wait. You will be.

Sis in Law's mother has five lovely daughters some of whom now have grandchildren. How many death notices were in the major daily newspaper? Three, one from our side of the family, one from Sis in Law and one from another daughter.

Mother placed ours. I did not like the wording, concluding with 'another link in the chain broken'. Is she having a go at the separation of our respective families due to the impending divorce of Sis in Law and Tradie Brother? R and I told her we did not like, but she went ahead. I gave her half the cost of the notice in cash and the call came, Andrew, here is the reference number. They won't let me pay later and I don't have a credit card. That is money I won't see again. (And proved to be true today)

Sis in Law left Tradie Brother's name out of the death notice, he who has done so much for her late mother and known her for 20 plus years, yet Sis in Law included her new fellah, who she has known for three months. Regardless of issues between Tradie Brother and Sis in Law, poor form.

I am not sure who is responsible, but Sis in Law's notice had her son's name, Dreaded Nephew, spelt wrongly and a misplaced comma made for four readings of the notice before it made sense. Nephew's name is not an unusual one, standard spelling.

I suppose I will keep my disapproval to within our side of the family about excluding Tradie Brother. Mother is ropeable about it but she is not saying anything to Sis in Law at a time of sadness for her either.

Then there are flowers! My modern interpretation is that if you can't attend a funeral that you ought to send flowers. Sis in Law's father's funeral, one wreath from our side of the family and one from his side. Step father, one wreath from us, and one from his brother. I recall attending funerals where there were racks of flowers.

The funeral is Saturday. What an extraordinary day to have a funeral! Seems Chainsaw Niece had a school trip to Tasmania and so the funeral was delayed.

Sister is not going. It is a long way for her to come and a long day to put Little Jo through. She celebrated Bone Doctor's father's 60th birthday by attending a family lunch on the Mornington Peninsula. As they weren't paying for lunch, they could justify bringing their car across on the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry. They called in and saw Sis in Law, so she feels that is enough.


And written after the funeral. It was a shocker and not because it wasn't well conducted. Three speakers aside from the celebrant, Oldest niece and Dreaded Nephew, Sis in Law and Chainsaw Niece, and one of the departed's grandsons, 35 years old, and his father. Note there are six listed because no one could make it through without cracking up. No one could even get started for minutes. It was very raw emotion and even those who are not prone to tears at funerals gave up and shed tears. I cry at the drop of hat but I didn't expect I would much today but to see so many people in such a mess, I and everyone else couldn't help themselves. A perfect stranger would have been in tears.

Anyway, that is done and dusted. Mother, as the last one standing, was paid her due respect at the afternoon tea following.


  1. Flowers and notices are just so expensive these days especially for pensioners.

    My sister says we should allow anyone who wants to speak about mum to do so, I don't because most of them haven't seen her at the home. I have arranged a slideshow of her life and the people she loved and she's chosen the music.
    Very simple and what she wants.

  2. Last death notice Dad put in the twats at The Hun managed to screw up the name thereby changing the gender of the deceased which wasn't funny then or now, years later.
    As JahTeh said, very exxy, since the parasites figured out that, like hospital car parks, death is a money spinning industry.

  3. Death notices are becoming a thing of the past. My theory is that we don't need newspapers now to make the announcement like we once did. There are plenty of other ways.

    As a divorcee it was difficult to frame something that suited everyone when my Mum died recently. My ex-wife was mentioned because she had been part of my Mum's life for around 30 years, and my new lady was also mentioned because my Mum had come to accept and embrace her in the past three years since we've been together. I don't know if there is any way to do it without putting someones nose out of joint.

  4. Funerals bring out the best and worst in human nature - I still get upset at soome of the crassness of my close rellos at Don's funeral - one sister I would love to slap her silly face for the crap she came up with...Don would have up chucked...not to worry - it has alwyas been thus.

  5. Understand that Jahteh. I don't really have a problem with the lack of flowers or notices. Just noting the change really. As was the one yesterday, the photos slide shows are great.

    Jayne, how can they screw up the basics of their job so badly? Re hospital car parks, I learnt my lesson right back in 2000. It is outrageous.

    Loz, it is a real tightrope but something most of us will have to deal with. I certainly will.

    I can imagine MC. Just rise above it all.

  6. Hi Andrew - enjoyed your visit to my blog - I'm sure there's an AB Paterson quote (or misquote!) for everything ...
    I recall breaking into wildly inappropriate laughter while reading the gravestone inscription suggestions provided at the masons when ordering my dad-in-law's headstone. I dare not mention them here in case other readers have chosen the ones I found hilarious. I guess this means you take comfort however is meaningful to you.

    Happy travels!

  7. Never thought about it RNO, but there probably is a Banjo quote for every occasion. We read many 'headstones' yesterday and they were pretty well ok, some a little to sugary.

  8. Sounds like it was a really beautiful funeral. Those are usually the types that can make almost everyone cry. And they make you wish you had known the person more because suddenly they sound so amazing. Not that they weren't incredibly amazing, but certain funerals can make them seem even more amazing.

    It would be cool if we celebrated living people in that way.

  9. Dina, she did have an interesting early life, including being evacuated from Darwin when it was bombed.

  10. Anonymous7:55 pm

    Have had enough funerals this year to last a life time. Yes you get to this age bracket and all the parents are suddenly passing away.

    I am siding with my dad and thinking funerals are a waste of money. Just put me out in the otto bin next garbage day. Wish it was that simple.

  11. I used to think similar as you Dad, but now I think I want an elaborate one and I am thinking of the music that will milk the most tears.

  12. Funerals are turning into Productions like weddings are.
    Big fuss recently when a church asked that people not play sectarian music, ie: the football club song.

    I waver between wanting the Otto-bin Solution, and wanting the historic country graveyard with the ancestors and a damn fine headstone.

    There's a wonderful moment when the wake changes from 'sombre' to 'party'.

  13. Wake changing from sombre to party is very Irish Em Stacks.